Mud Fever

 
 
Mud Fever is one of those conditions that for some horses is an annual nightmare. The truth is that traditional veterinary approaches are often unsuccessful. However, the horse has actually been very well designed to both prevent and deal with mud fever – if we give it a chance and don’t interfere any more than necessary.
 
 
The first objective must be to reduce the amount of mud that makes contact with the skin and the first natural line of defence is the hair (feathers). Nature has carefully designed these to divert water (from rain) away from the skin so the skin remains dry. If the horse is wading around in knee deep mud then that mud dries onto the hair and is still kept away from the skin. In fact, many argue that leaving the mud on the fully feathered leg is far better than using fancy boots at keeping the skin clean. Taking the normal veterinary advice of trimming the feathers off forces you to use a whole array of artificial devices such as boots, creams , goos and disinfectants all of which require attention once or more likely twice a day.
 
So, in an ideal world, prevention is about leaving the feathers on, leaving the dried mud on the feathers as much as possible to develop a natural barrier and ensuring the immune system is fed as well as possible with a balanced diet supplemented with an immune support supplement. Don't know of an immune boosting supplement? Take a look at EquiFeast's Fight Back

If you have to take the feathers off (for competition or other cosmetic reasons) or you have to wash the mud off then you will have to work a bit harder to compensate. Ideally you will reduce the amount of mud that comes into contact with the skin with boots such as Equilibrium Equi-Chaps. Alternatively, you may apply one of the many barrier creams on the market. Either way you will probably need to wash the legs a couple of times a day. And you will probably need an appropriate product to do this with, we've picked EquiFeast Banish which is a liquid designed to kill bacteria and fungi. 
 
Make sure the cleaner gets right down to the skin if there is still hair on the affected or “at risk” area. Leave it there to dry naturally with or without the aid of wicking boots. Again an immune support product is strongly recommended.

 
If any mud fever develops LEAVE THE SCABS ON. There is no reason why you should take off nature’s band aid. Advice would be to feed an immune support supplement.
 



The pitures are of Murphy. He has four white socks and mud fever on every leg that spread over the back. You can see (pictured below) his feathers were clipped and his legs were red raw. He was wearing boots in the field all day, being washed and disinfected morning and evening and left with wicking boots in the stable overnight. The next winter he was simply getting a ¼ amount of an immune support product and left in the field with full feathers (pictured above). His legs were only hosed down for the occasional competition but otherwise left covered in mud. He has not yet had mud fever again under this regime.